Driving corrugated donut rotors with Laguerre-Gauss beams

Opt Express. 2014 Aug 11;22(16):19692-706. doi: 10.1364/OE.22.019692.


Tightly-focused laser beams that carry angular momentum have been used to trap and rotate microrotors. In particular, a Laguerre-Gauss mode laser beam can be used to transfer its orbital angular momentum to drive microrotors. We increase the torque efficiency by a factor of about 2 by designing the rotor such that its geometry is compatible with the driving beam, when driving the rotation with the optimum beam, rather than beams of higher or lower orbital angular momentum. Based on Floquet's theorem, the order of discrete rotational symmetry of the rotor can be made to couple with the azimuthal mode of the Laguerre-Gauss beam. We design corrugated donut rotors, that have a flat disc-like profile, with the help of the discrete dipole approximation and the T-matrix methods in parallel with experimental demonstrations of stable trapping and torque measurement. We produce and test such a rotor using two-photon photopolymerization. With a rotor that has 8-fold discrete rotational symmetry, an outer radius of 1.85 μm and a hollow core radius of 0.5 μm, we were able to transfer approximately 0.3 h̄ per photon of the orbital angular momentum from an LG04 beam.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't